News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
(ANF/EFRIN) A new report compiled by Bahoz Deniz for ANF says that the UN will begin operations in Rojava. Deniz spoke with Sinem Mihemed, the co-President of the Rojava People’s Assembly (MGRK), who explained that the decision was taken after high-level meetings with a UN committee and aims at developing local procedures in conjunction with the Canton governments and providing humanitarian aid.
Mihemed explained that the Canton governments had made contact with UN channels in Europe, and these contacts resulted in a high-level UN committee meeting with representatives of the Rojava governments on April 5th in the Turkish city of Antep, saying “we had meetings before with UN officials in Norway. They asked whether or not we wanted UN help for Rojava. We said that we accepted. Later they invited us to a meeting in Antep. As planned we took part in a meeting on April 5th with a high-level committee that had traveled from the United States. It was an involved and beneficial meeting. It was the first time that they have officially entered into relations with us. They said that there were certain conditions that had to be met for the UN to carry out humanitarian aid activities in Rojava and they informed us of their protocols. Most of conditions within this protocol were in fact things that we have already implemented in Rojava in practice. We went through it with them article by article. The UN said they want to help the Rojava region but also requested that they be able to pass through Rojava in security and have access to the other regions of Syria. We told them that there would be no issue with this right now, that they would be able to carry out all of their activities in areas under our control without problems, but that we could not guarantee security in areas with gang presence. We explained that we as the Rojava cantons were ready to give every kind of support to the work of international organizations in Rojava and to create an environment in which they can work freely.”
Our System Is In Line With The UN
Mihemed went on to explain that the Rojava cantons would have no difficulty in conforming with UN conditions, saying “they said that they wanted to help all segments of society in Rojava and we said that this would not be a problem in practice and that would provide every kind of help to allow them to reach all segments of society in need, and not just Kurds but all the nations in Rojava. In fact we made it explicitly clear that our system was also run on these principles. Actually when we looked at UN norms we saw that they closely resemble the norms of our own system. There are camps which we opened with the objective of providing humanitarian aid. We said that they could come and visit these camps and if they wanted and could provide any kind of aid. In fact the existence of international projects is what we want. In response to their wishes we stressed that if there was going to be humanitarian aid that it was very important that this work would be consistent and would continue. That is we explained that we were ready to provide any kind of support and to develop long-term, not short-term projects. We as the Rojava cantons are ready to work with them according to UN norms.”
Rojave Is A Safe Region
According to Mihemed the biggest concern UN officials expressed revolved around security. Mihemed explained, “one of the points we got stuck on was the subject of fighting in areas of civilian settlement. Actually in Rojava there is no fighting in the cities or places where civilians are living. The fighting takes place outside of the city. The YPG have implemented all of their defense precautions outside of the cities, they have set up a security-ring and when the gangs attack areas of settlement they respond outside of the city. Right now the safest areas in Syria are those under YPG control. There is no security problem. They also asked about the issue of medical treatment for the wounded. We already provide medical treatment for everyone who is injured in Rojava including members of the gangs which are attacking us and we operate in conformity with international agreements. This was actually a point of sensitivity for us around which we stopped.”
Mihemed finished by saying that “UN officials said that they wanted to help Rojava. They actually used the word ‘Rojava.’ This is important for us and it is valuable that they spoke in this manner. This is the first time in the past three years that the UN has established liaisons with us and told us they wanted to help. This situation is an important situation for Rojava. We have invited the committee to Rojava to see our system. In the days ahead we will meet again. We have projects for Rojava.”
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